Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Spinning for winter woolies

I know, it's been so long since I posted anything here. We get so busy and I forget to take pictures of what we've done or I just don't feel like sitting down and writing about it all.

Anyway, I was up early this morning because Ken overslept and didn't have time to feed the horses and goats as he usually does. So after feeding everyone and a couple of cups of tea and a trip around the net looking at other peoples blogs, and thinking: "man I wish people would updates their blogs more often" ....hmmm, guilt set in.

Fall came and has almost turned to winter. We've had hard frosts most mornings this week which has put me in the knitting and spinning mode. I just ordered some Wool of the Andes from

Knit Picks

The Shoreline Twist and the Tidepool Heather.

Last winter I was so cold all the time until I found an old wool sweater in a box and tried it on. I couldn't believe the difference real wool makes. Forget the double sweatshirts. This year we're all having pure wool sweaters, wool hats and scarves! Joshua likes to pull his socks up over the bottom of his pants when he goes out in the cold so I told him I would make him some little leg warmer things to save his socks which remain baggy at the top after being stretched over jeans!

I started by spinning up some llama and alpaca fiber I found on ebay. Also got a good start on the red merino mill ends that I bought LAST year. Love that stuff! It spins so nice and it's also treated with superwash so it can be thrown in the washer.

The dark brown in the pictures is the alpaca, the lighter browns are llama and the other twisted two color yarns are a bit of both. I'm not sure how well llama and wool work together when plied but I had those bits of singles left over and decided to give it a try. Will have to be careful when washing the fabric in case the wool shrinks more than the llama. It'll probably end up as an accent color in a scarf. Or Josh's leg warmer/fake sock tops.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

So many Rabbits!

We're awash in rabbits at the moment. Here they all are getting some fresh air and sunshine while we cleaned out their house ( the horse trailer) last weekend. They've all been seperated into age groups for growing out and ( since they're all weaned now) their moms are in their own cages hanging under the roof of the new rabbit barn we're building on the back of the horse shelter.

Yes, the one at the top was an escapee. He was easy to catch though and now he's back with his little group.

I love baby bunnies. I also love the rabbit pies cooked in the oven of the wood cookstove! No chemicals, preservatives or artificial colorings.

Actually they're all named Stew!

Indian Artifacts

Just look at these!

Brandy, our little Jack Russell, dug a hole in the yard just outside the back door. It was only a little hole big enough to get her nose in. Joshua for some reason bent down to look inside it and couldn't believe his eyes. There was this beautiful black flint Indian blade! It's about 2 1/4 inches long.

The other is made from white quartz. I found that one not long after we moved in here. It was just laying on top of the dirt by the stream.

It gives me goose bumps to think that Indians once hunted in my backyard!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Garden Fence

Once again I must apologize for not posting for so long. This darned computer had another melt down and has been in the repair shop.

In the mean time I've been taking lots of pictures and if all goes well I'll try to post something every day.

We finished fencing in the garden! Glad that's done. As you know we also built a fence for the neighbor across the street. So far everything is growing beautifully. The deer are sticking their heads through and managing to nibble a few of the plants around the edges but it's nothing we can't live with.

These pictures were taken last week. I need to go out and take some more. It's amazing how fast things grow. It's like a jungle in there now. The potatoes are doing really well and we have lots of tomatoes but they're ripening slowly it seems.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

4th of July

It's a day late but Happy 4th of July to everyone that it applies to!

It was a very quiet one here. Ken went down to a family get together in North Carolina so it was just me and Josh here taking care of the farm.

I sat out on the porch swing most of the evening hoping to catch sight of a few fireworks but there was nothing. I could hear quite a few in the distance but not a thing down here on the creek. But it was more than made up for by the flashes of hundreds of fireflies though! They were all busily blinking , looking for their mates. I love the fireflies. Wish there was a way to photograph them. After a shower the whole place sparkles with them like an enchanted forest.

While he was in NC Ken stopped by the farm store in Fayetteville and picked up some white pigeons!! That was a stroke of luck. They don't have them in stock very often. Since we came here the ones we have haven't laid any eggs. A few birds have also been lost to hawks. Now I'm down to two and they both seem to be males. The two tipplers in the aviary keep sitting on eggs but they never hatch. They sit about 10 days and then kick them out. I looked inside the eggs and there was no chick in there, just a regular yoke. I've added vitamin supplements to their diet and made other changes but to no avail. The birds may just be too old. I got them about 6 years ago and they were adult's then so I have no idea how old they are. Anyway, Ken's on his way home with 4 new white homers - young ones- so we may be in for a chance at breeding these. Everyone keep your fingers crossed for baby pigeons!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Eraser Carved Fish

I actually sat down and got back to work on some eraser carving.

Here's a nice big carp I'm working on.

First, the beginnings of the carving itself and then the printed image. Next, I'll take it into Photo Impact and adapt it for printing on t-shirts.

I closed the Cafepress shop by the way. Will be opening a new shop at

They don't have as many items to choose from but their t-shirt printing is extremely high quality. It's also free to open a shop there so I plan to have a few of them each catering to a particular niche. One of them being nothing but fish designs.

And now back outside to set corner posts for the shed we're adding on to the back of the horse shelter.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Setting Fence Posts

e're a bit late with the garden this year. Ken's been working such long hours at work as well as keeping up with his handyman business. His boss recently bought a house and hired Ken to help him remodel it. So every night after work they've been over there gutting and rebuilding cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom, laying tile and hardwood floors. They work on that every night until about 9pm and then on the weekends he's been working on other peoples houses. This last two weekends he and I have been building a garden fence for the neighbor across the street! It never ends.

Now, at last, we've started fencing our garden to keep those pesky deer out!

We're using the 16 ft cattle panels as they last forever. They're only 5ft high so we'll be cutting other panels in half length ways and adding another couple of feet above what you see here. If the deer get over that I don't know what we'll do. Maybe cap the whole thing with a wire roof!

Well, anyway we're late. Keep your fingers crossed that we get to harvest something before winter arrives again!

School's Out!

A lot has been going on here on the farm. I'm finally getting a bit of time to write about it.

First, we're all done homeschooling for this year!! Woo hoo!

We finished up the end of year testing last week. Josh pretty much sailed through it and seems to have done very well. We won't get the results until the end of July. He did extremely well on the spelling test which is usually his worst subject. All that reading is paying off. Math gave him the most trouble this year so that's what we'll concentrate on more. We'll probably continue to work on it a bit over the summer.

So, now we have time to work on the garden and all those other projects that have been waiting in the wings.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Yes we did. But this year we're going to put up an eight foot fence to keep these guys out!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

One Morning in April

Thought you all might enjoy experiencing some of the sights and sounds around our farm. Ken's camera can take short video clips and with the help of photobucket I was able to put together a short movie.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Computer troubles

You must all think I've fallen off the edge of the world or something. I'm sorry for the lack of posts here. Hope everyone had a lovely Easter.

As you might remember when the power went out during the ice storm in February my computer got fried. Well, it's been in the shop being fixed for the last two weeks. We got it back on Friday. Everything was going good until Sunday. Ken plugged in the camera thinking we would call my Mum and Dad and get on Yahoo messenger for a chat. As soon as he plugged in the camera the computer froze up! He couldn't do a thing with it. It wouldn't even turn off!!. He did all he could to fix it but to no avail. So, it's back in the shop.

Keep your fingers crossed that it's nothing too serious. I'm at a loss without it as it has all my artwork on it, though the software I'd been using needs to be reinstalled. -And that's another problem, I can't find the disk!! Think I'm going to have to go on ebay to find another one. It's PhotoImpact 4, I think. We downloaded the trial version of the new PhotoImpact 12 but I actually like the old one better. The new one requires that you set the screen to a particular resolution that makes everything look extremely small. I can hardly see all the little buttons!!!

In the meantime, we went looking for other graphics software to try and came across a free trial of Xara Extreme

I made this little ginger kitten design while messing around with it and put it on some t-shirts in my cafepress shop. Thought it came out quite nice. Xara's totally different from PhotoImpact but I really like it and think I'll take advantage of the sale they are having.

Afraid this cat t-shirt is all I have to show you. The camera's out of batteries so I haven't taken any pictures of the SNOW we got over the week end!!! Yes, SNOW!!! The temperature went from almost 80 F last week down to about 15 F over the week end! It may have been below that even. I know it set a record. We got about an inch of snow on Saturday and there was still some of it in the woods this morning. I'd just put all the winter coats away too. Even put up the fly curtain that Susan and David brought over for us so we could keep the kitchen door open in the (now, non existent) warm weather. All the animal's water buckets had a half inch of ICE on them this morning! Can you tell I'm not happy about having to go back to this after being out there in jeans and t-shirt planting peas and radishes last week?

Anyway, here's the Ginger Cat shirt. He looks as if he's chasing something and skidding on a slippery floor.

If you click on the picture you'll be able to view all the other items with this design on them. Cat mugs, infant and toddler t-shirts, bags and what not.

Free Image Hosting at

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Back Road Home

If you look in the sidebar you'll see I added a link to a really great website: Back Road Home .

I stumbled across it one day a couple of weeks ago. It's packed full of useful information for anyone who's renovating an old farmhouse, planning the layout of their farm and property, or decorating in a period style. I still haven't looked at everything on there but already have a better idea of how to position any outbuildings we decide to build. So take a few minutes to go check it out.

I did go looking for another place to blog but can't really decide what to do. I saw that blogger had been having some problems that they say will be fixed so I'm going to stick it out here a while longer.

The weekend was a busy one. With the lovely warm weather that came in I set about catching up on a lot of neglected chores like trimming goat hooves. Ken changed the oil and filters in both trucks, took Joshua to his shooting club, washed the trucks and a million other things.

Josh and I rounded up the ducks and put them in a pen to give the frogspawn in the pond time to develope and grow into little frogs. The ducks were gobbling up everything in sight!

After all that cold and ice it feels good to have accomplished a few things.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Building a Rustic Fence and Arbor

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This is what's been keeping me busy all week.
I started weeding the borders for this year's kitchen garden. No sooner had I started than the chickens and the ducks showed up to help! No point planting anything as long as they can come and scratch up the seeds and eat them. So, I set about building a fence. It was only when I got this far that it dawned on me to take pictures and blog about it. I mean someone out there might want a rustic fence and not know where to start. So here are some step by step instructions because if I can do it anyone can!
Oh dear. I posted instructions and now this morning I find all the pictures have red Xes again!!! I think I'm going to find some other place to host a blog and ditch Blogger. It's been taking forever to publish anything and I'm really tired of it.
I'm going to go feed the cow and then come back and look at other options!
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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Best Horse in the World!

Isn't shady lovely?

She was waiting very patiently for her supper. I love her to bits.
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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Wild Turkeys

When I was washing breakfast dishes yesterday I noticed this huge flock of wild turkeys in the little hillside pasture by the stream. I grabbed the camera and crept down the side of the stream trying to stay out of sight. They have a way of melting into nothingness at the first sign of a human.
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As soon as they saw me they were off up the mountain. I'm surprised they let me get this close.
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Monday, February 26, 2007

Ice Storm

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I tried posting this once and the picture came up with the dreaded red X!

Well, this is the ice storm that knocked out our power for most of last week. it also fried my computer! I'm using Ken's Dell right now and feel like my arms have been cut off because all my artwork was is on the other one. We've downloaded a free trial version of the graphics program I use but it's the updated version so I'm having to learn how to use it.

I'm also trying to add a little button that will link to the my CafePress shop. Grrr, I feel so old and decrepit. I need to learn html. I've been all over the web looking for instructions. Finally I copied someone elses code and edited it with my link etc. It's too big right now and covering part of the body text so I'll have to make some changes.

Sorry, I'm talking to myself here.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Winter Moon

After two years of using the thing, I noticed that Ken's camera has a night setting on it! I had to try it out. Here's our old farmhouse on a cold winter's night just as the moon was rising.

When I'm out taking the dogs for their last walk before bedtime I love to stand in the driveway and see our house all lit up. A little haven of warmth amidst the dark, frigid landscape.

Ooh, and look closely. There are orbs! Some people think they're evidence of ghostly, mataphysical activity of some kind. I think it's just the reflection of the moon. But who knows.

Now, if each orb contained the image of the other half of all the odd socks that come out of the dryer, now that would be proof! There's an awful lot of metaphysical activity in the laundry room.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Wood for the cookstove

As you can see from the picture winter finally arrived here in Virginia. We haven't had much snow but it's very cold and icy.

Since Ken's working full time now (Yes!!!) he hasn't had time to go out and cut wood so we had to break down and buy some. We had a few days without the woodstove going and what a difference. The central heat just doesn't warm the house up like the Pioneer Maid. Of course it does heat the house but it's just not that nice cozy heat that the stove puts out. So now we're back in shape for a while. I dont know how long this load will last us. We should make a pont of keeping track of how much we go through then we'll know how much to have on hand next winter. He's going to go back and get another load next weekend.

Now, perhaps I can get back to knitting. I've accomplished a LOT on the knitting front this year. I've finished a sweater and a bunch of hats and socks. There's just nothing like sitting by the stove in the rocking chair with your needles on winter nights after all the barn chores are done. When all the farm animals are out there bedded down and happily munching their hay I can finally relax.

No relaxing now though. I need to get out there and help download and stack this wood.

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Easter Greeting Cards

I know it isn't Easter yet but I'm trying to be get ahead a bit!
Thought this print of spring daffodils growing in the woodland would look nice as an Easter Greeting Card. It's another eraser carving I made during the six months we lived in Maryland. I haven't done much carving at all since we moved here. But, the table in my art room has been cleaned off, the lamp set up, and the scalpel knives and erasers ready! Maybe I'll actually turn out some new work soon!
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The Return of the Ox

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Well, the beast is back!
Mr. V. brought him back the week before Christmas. This time we got a halter on him and here he is in his new stall in the barn as suggested by the more experienced ox drovers I've spoken with.
Ken fastened an iron bar to the post and he's secured to that with a chain with swivels. The ring on the chain slides up and down the pole when he stands up or lays down.
The barn floor is dirt and we were concerned about a mud hole forming underneath him so we dug a pit in the center of his stall and filled it half full with gravel. We placed a pallet on top of that then continued to fill in with the gravel. He's kind of standing on the wood slats of the pallet rather than straight gravel. It's working out well. In the morning I take out the poop and any wet bedding then push the dry stuff to the side so the damp area can air out and dry. He stands up all day anyway so he doesn't need bedding. Then in the evening I clean out the poop and spread dry hay under him so that he's nice and comfy for the night. I thought having a cow in the barn was going to be a major pain in the neck but he's very easy to keep clean. He's really come a long way. He's no longer quite as intent on disemboweling me whenever I go in there! Gosh, when he first came he would give me the evil eye and get ready to charge whenever I walked by. Since he's realized where his food and water comes from he's starting to look forward to seeing me and begins mooing as soon as he hears my footsteps. He'll now let me scratch his shoulder while he eats, which I think is quite an improvement. I still move very slowly and keep a close eye on him but for the most part as long as there are apples in the offing he couldn't really care less about anything else. He's also learned the command "over" and steps to the side while I clean out the soiled bedding. Yesterday I was able to brush him a little bit.
I guess February's goal is to be able to brush him all over and live to tell about it!
Oh and here area a couple of ox and oxen related t-shirt designs I just uploaded to the cafepress shop.
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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Box Turtle

Someone I met on the trail just before Christmas. Look how camoflaged he is. I almost stood on him. Or her!
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Monday, January 08, 2007

Tree Farmer

Well, I'm sorry I haven't been blogging much. Blogger was giving me fits every time I tried to upload something. I wanted to wish everyone Merry Christmas but couldn't. So now the holidays are over. Hopefully this post will publish and I can at least say Happy New Year!!!

In the mean time I've been working on my Cafepress shop. A big Thank You! to those who bought t-shirts and hoodies over Christmas!!! Your custom is much appreciated. I'll post some of the new designs on here.

While looking through some eraser carvings I did last year this one -above- struck me as having possibilities. Thought it would make a nice design for tree farmer t shirts. So, if there are any tree farmers out there or if you know someone who has a tree farm or orchard you could surprise them with a t-shirt for Valentine's day! Actually, it would work just as well for Father's Day, Mother's Day, or even Easter! Or just beacuse you love a tree farmer. What the heck.

Ok lets see if this will publish.

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